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dmway

"Desert sky, dream beneath the desert sky..."

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Nov. 2 - from LV to DV

"DV", of course, stands for Death Valley.

We began our day saying farewell to Las Vegas - I can safely say that we are both great fans of LV and will be back to visit, possibly more than once. It is a genuinely fun place, even without gambling and other assorted pleasures involving money. Of course, the U2 connection with the ISHFWILF video will always make it special.

Our drive to Death Valley allowed us to revisit some of our recent statements (e.g., driving on another planet/the moon/scenes from "Star Trek" - see previous posts above for those). The scenery leaving LV was as stunning as it was arriving there. Deserts are stark places, of course; that doesn't mean that they can't be awe-inspiringly beautiful as well.

We drove out of LV, passing thriving metropolises like Pahrump and other curiously-named towns. Our quest was to find the road that would take us to California Highway 190, the main road through the famous Death Valley. Our place to stay for the night was/is located right on Hwy. 190; that place in and of itself also turned out to be an additional delight - more on that later. Taking the road to 190 feels like you are driving in the middle of nowhere - this is because you are driving in the middle of nowhere. When you cross the state line from Nevada to California, if you blinked at the wrong time, you would miss the microscopic sign indicating the crossing of the threshold. You certainly couldn't tell from the terrain: it is identical on both sides of the border: gorgeous desolation.

After driving for what seems like an eternity of unchanging landscape, you finally see signs announcing that you are in the heart of Death Valley. We stop to take some pictures of ourselves on the moon in Death Valley. We had been on the road for a few hours, so, even when we see the sign for Zabriskie Point, we continue onward to our hotel, which is only another mile down the road. (We didn't feel the need to go back to Zabriskie Point later; we already knew what it looked like - so do you. Just look at the landscape behind the band on your copy of "The Joshua Tree" - that's Zabriskie Point.)

We arrived at our hotel and were absolutely spellbound by the beauty of the place, both of the hotel and the panoramic scenery all around it. (Note of importance: I splurged on the hotel - I figured if we were staying in Death Valley and were exerting all the effort to go to/from there, we were going to stay someplace nice. And, boy, did we. How nice was it? I'll tell you how nice: the day after we left, since they had a bye week in their football season, the San Francisco 49ers were staying there for a few days for "team bonding" sessions. It must have worked; they're doing quite well this year.)

I wish I could tell you how mystifyingly beautiful the colors and contours of the whole place were - I guess I'll have to let the pictures do the talking:

 

 

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Edited by dmway
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Nov. 3 - from DV to a site just beyond the boundaries of the national park, then to a place often seen but not often visited, then back to LA for round 2

This was another day full of activity - it featured a lot of driving, but also a lot of sights, the last one a more familiar one, but from a new direction.

We set out from our beautiful hotel in the beautiful valley with the ironic doleful name to look for a specific member of the local flora off of Hwy. 190 just outside of Death Valley National Park. More accurately, we were looking for the place it once lived.

If some here perhaps didn't already know, the Joshua Tree that became the symbol for the album "The Joshua Tree" fell down in a wind storm in the year 2000. So, the days of seeing/visiting the actual tree have been gone for almost two decades. However, as you may have seen on other pictures here on the site and elsewhere, there is a fan tribute near/at the site where the tree used to be. There is even a tree that has seemingly grown out of the remains of the old one. (I mentioned it before, but, at the end of this travelogue (when I eventually finish it, that is), I will give source articles for the U2 sights we explored together.)

I do have to give you some words of advice/caution if you decide that you might want to venture out to this part of the world on your own JT pilgrimage. This location really is in the middle of nowhere. The band themselves chose the original tree because, if you noticed from our photographs posted earlier, Joshua Trees tend to grow in large bunches together (this is why further south in southern California there is a whole National Park for them) - the one they chose to photograph was a loner. They did a very good job of picking a desolate location for their tree. If you set out for it, remember a few things: fill up with gas completely before you start (this may seem to be an obvious statement, but, if you don't fuel up while you are still in Nevada (using the route that we did, that is), you're not going to find another station in California until well after the plain where the tree once lived); also, be mindful of three words: dehydration, hypoxia, and albedo. The first word everyone knows well, but you'll experience it during your trip. Death Valley and the area around it is a desert - have more water than you think you could possibly drink, and drink as much water as you feel the need to (and just a little more). You will feel the pervasive lack of moisture in multiple ways. Enough said.

Hypoxia - lack of oxygen. Death Valley is below sea level in many areas; the areas that make it a valley are not - no valleys without hills/mountains attached to them. Death Valley is no exception. Going into and out of DV, you will reach heights 4/5 of a mile high in elevation. In these heights, there is less oxygen and, if you have prolonged time at this height, you will feel it. If you are the driver going to the JT site, be sure your companion takes pictures (also be sure to have a companion in the first place; you could do the trip on your own, I suppose, but that would certainly have added elements of risk) - the drive out of DV to the JT area is breathtakingly beautiful. Drive very carefully. There are a lot of hairpin turns with precipitous falls if you don't execute them properly. Let your companion photograph the scenic beauty. (You can also stop at the few lookouts along the road - just budget your time well.)

Albedo - the scientific term for reflected sunlight. Albedo is why skiers get nice suntans on their faces in the dead of winter. In addition, the higher elevations of this journey add yet another risk factor: exposure to higher amounts of UV light. The combination of the two have to be factored in - you may need sunscreen even during times of the year when it normally wouldn't even cross your mind that you might need it. My companion asked me to think about wearing some; I decided not to have any. I only live to tell the tale without a bout of sunburn because we went in early November; had we gone any earlier in the year, even just a couple of weeks earlier, I'm sure my obstinacy would have led to a very red face (literally, as well as metaphorically). As I was driving, I could definitely feel the sunlight hit my face both off the surface of the road and even off the hood of the car (albedo at work in its full glory) - as I already said, only the time of year saved me from a painful burn. Have sunscreen with you on the trip.

We used photographs from the source article we had to locate the reborn tree. We offered our silent tribute to what felt and still feels like a sacred site to fellow U2 fans. We took a few photographs of the area and left - we didn't linger too long because our buddies dehydration, hypoxia, and albedo were ganging up on us and were starting to negatively affect our moods (all three will, esp. hypoxia - dehydration is good at it too). A word to the wise...

We took the scenic route back to LA instead of I-15. We were both glad we did - new sites to see because of that decision. Without knowing it, we drove by Ridgecrest, CA, the epicenter for the earthquakes in California in 2019 (no, we didn't see any damage from the July 4th quake nor did we feel any tremors during our whole stay there) - it was just an interesting detail we found out after the fact. We also drove through the town of Mojave, CA. This town has a very famous sight to see, one you may have seen on TV and/or the movies - a very large wind farm.

After leaving Mojave, we hightailed it back to LA, this time using I-5 from the north. The last part of the trip was about to begin. Pictures:

 

 

 

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Edited by dmway
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Nov. 4 - back in LA (pt. 1)

We had been in LA for the first part of the trip and now we were having the conclusion of our trip here too. We even stayed in the same hotel because it had worked out so well for us for the first part of the trip; it was perfectly located for all of our expeditions.

Our next outing took us to one of the lovely beaches of LA, of which there are very many. We did some research online and were finally attracted by one beach in particular. Since we are fans of the same music, we let our fandom decide which beach to go to: Venice Beach.

Venice Beach is the place where Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek first met - this meeting eventually led, of course, to the founding of The Doors. As an additional side note, it also was the second location of the famous "Muscle Beach" (the original location was at Santa Monica Beach, just to the north; later it moved south to Venice) where people like Arnold Schwarzenegger got their start in bodybuilding. (We didn't actually go up to see Muscle Beach, but it is there if you ever feel like visiting it.)

We had a really wonderful time there - I/we would highly recommend it. It had a place where we had a one of the greatest lunches of our trip (a gluten-free turkey burger and fish tacos were eagerly consumed there by us - if those sound like odd dietary choices, just remember that it was/is California, and our diets are very far from many people's standard diet; I had always wanted to try fish tacos, and they were as delicious as I had hoped - I'd have them again in a heartbeat). The beachfront is full of quirky shops to browse through. Lots of clothing shops, both fashionable and novelty-styled (it is the beach after all). In addition to those and the many restaurants were many art-oriented places. Some were more traditional; others were more made on the spot by some very talented local artists. You could tell that many of them made their living just from their artwork.

Of course, the main attraction was/is the beach itself. I had only been to the Pacific Ocean once before in my life, so this was a very welcome return. We saw the most lovely sites on the beach, the best was the sunset. By sheer coincidence, since the time had just changed a day or two before back to Standard Time, the sunset was earlier than usual. It was just stunning seeing the sun set in the Pacific. Again, let's let the pictures do the talking:

 

 

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Edited by dmway
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3 hours ago, padawanbeck84 said:

I'm really enjoying reading these posts and seeing the photos of your journey. 

Thank you for sharing them with us.

Thank you very much for saying so! 😊

As I said at the beginning, we wanted to share the memories of the trip with everyone in the hope that, if there were some here wanting to do something similar, we could show that you could go to all these U2-related places with not too much effort (if you plan the route right - there was only one part of the trip that was trying; that’s the part of the trip I’ll be writing about next.)

I’ll also share the info that we received in advance of the trip at the end of the thread.

 

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On 12/16/2019 at 9:47 PM, dmway said:

Hello all! 😎

Back in late October/early November, I made a trip to across the country to parts of the American Southwest that I had not visited before. A fellow U2 fan and good friend decided to go on vacation to Los Angeles. Las Vegas and San Diego were also mentioned as part of a potential itinerary. Since I had never been to that part of the country as well, we decided to have a collective vacation.

As I thought about the trip and where we might go, San Diego seemed like a bit of an outlier - we didn't really have enough time to go there. We only had 11 days, so vacationing while employing a somewhat circular route was the most efficient way to do things. Since we were U2 fans as well, I had a better idea for a third place to go. I ran the idea by my friend, and it was welcomed enthusiastically.

So, we offer this humble illustrated travelogue 1) to honor the best vacation either one of us have ever had, 2) to give those who may want to do the same kind of trip the catalyst to go themselves, and 3) to honor the band who inspired it all. Since we were in this part of the country, our U2 adventures had a distinctive JT flavor - of course, this is only appropriate during the year where NZ/AUS/(south)eastern parts of Asia got their JT anniversary tour. "In God's Country" really would serve as a good theme song for the whole trip (thus, the title of the thread).

 

(N.B. - there will be some placeholder posts below for me to fill in later when I have the time to complete them.)

 

I hear you 

As an east coast Canadian, desert motifs were largely accessed thru pics. 

But as life would direct, i found my way to the Mohave several dozen times , hiked, ran and biked in some unbelievable spots. 

I love the desert and hope when it’s my turn , a third of my ashes get left there to find a home. Native spirits willing. 

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10 hours ago, economicformula said:

I hear you 

As an east coast Canadian, desert motifs were largely accessed thru pics. 

But as life would direct, i found my way to the Mohave several dozen times , hiked, ran and biked in some unbelievable spots. 

I love the desert and hope when it’s my turn , a third of my ashes get left there to find a home. Native spirits willing. 

It is a lovely place. I hope you get your wish.

I never thought I would say that I would love to return there as well, but I would love to return. Let’s hope that happens.

 

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Nov. 4 (pt. 2) - more pictures from Venice Beach

(I would be interested see the reaction of @Max Tsukino to one of these pictures - he and you will know the one I mean; I thought it was especially poignant in today's US political climate. Again, apologies for the 90 degree rotation - that bug hasn't been worked out yet.)

 

 

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This also was there too - there must have been other countries there as well:

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Back at the hotel, we also saw the set-ups for many movie previews (did I mention that we had stayed in Hollywood?). In addition to "Ford v. Ferrari", we saw the previews be setup for the latest Terminator film, and "Frozen II" was being set up as we were leaving.)

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Edited by dmway
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On 12/31/2019 at 7:26 AM, dmway said:

Nov. 4 (pt. 2) - more pictures from Venice Beach

(I would be interested see the reaction of @Max Tsukino to one of these pictures - he and you will know the one I mean; I thought it was especially poignant in today's US political climate. Again, apologies for the 90 degree rotation - that bug hasn't been worked out yet.)

 

 

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rumor indicates that's the portal to the land of tacos and tequila... =P

eh... despite politics, we are everywhere... >=)

cool photos, man!!!! thanks for posting them... 😃

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Max Tsukino said:

rumor indicates that's the portal to the land of tacos and tequila... =P

eh... despite politics, we are everywhere... >=)

cool photos, man!!!! thanks for posting them... 😃

You're welcome for all the photos! 😊 Some of the best ones are yet to come - our final day (before leaving day, that is) in LA was very U2-oriented.

In order to avoid offending the more politically-sensitive, I'll send one extra-good photo to you in a message - it's like the pre-"Exit" video from the JT anniversary tour in one still photo. 😎

The portal of tacos and tequila sounds like a good portal - I hope it is that.

 

Edited by dmway

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